Militarism, imperialism, and World War I

A question from Yahoo! Answers:

Explain how militarism and imperialism contributed to conflict in Europe before World War I?

Militarism and imperialism were inevitable consequences of the gold standard, which was the true cause of World War I.

Under the gold standard, a nation can expand its money supply only as far as its gold stock allows. To expand its gold stock, a nation must have a trade surplus. So expanding the money supply under the gold standard is only possible if a nation has a trade surplus.

Expanding money supply is the quickest way of ending recessions and thus keeping the population gainfully employed and reasonably happy. But under the gold standard, it is only possible if a nation has a trade surplus, so governments, instead of abandoning the gold standard, started working on ensuring that their nations always have a trade surplus.

In practice, this took the form of pressuring other countries into opening their markets for your exports while keeping imports off your domestic market. The pressure tactics gradually escalated from diplomacy to the threat or war, until everyone was threatening everyone else.

And that’s when Gavrilo Princip fired his FN M 1910…

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